Often when brain injury survivors return home from hospital it takes a while for them to understand or realise how new symptoms of their injury will affect their day-to-day life.
Louis McGuire, 38, found this to be the case after returning to his flat in London following a traumatic brain injury sustained when he fell down a long flight of stairs.
“Apparently at the time of the fall I was using crutches, given to me at an A&E from a previous injury,” recalls Louis.
“I don't know how I sustained that minor injury. Apparently, my partner was getting ready for bed and heard what she thought was me slamming the front door.
“We had a dog and on hearing the bang it was acting agitated. Thinking that he needed a walk, my partner opened the door and that is when they discovered me on the floor, at the foot of the stairs.”
Louis was in a coma for three weeks before undergoing intensive hospital treatment, which included having part of his skull removed and it being replaced with two titanium plates.
Rehabilitation followed with Louis receiving physical and occupational therapy, as well as nutritional therapy due to his weight loss. He also had help from a neuropsychologist who determined his brain functioning through a series of tests. He was discharged after approximately four months.
During his recovery his partner had started chemotherapy, which lasted three months. Due to this he moved into his own flat.
Louis said that it was during this time that he started notice more symptoms of his brain injury.
He said: “It became apparent I had poor hearing and sight deterioration on my left side.
“Some days I would get incredibly dizzy and this resulted in me falling down the stairs twice."
"Both were within a year of my discharge. The first, I fell down a flight of stairs, breaking my jaw and a finger. The second, I fell down another flight of stairs and broke my left tibia.”
Louis said he has been proactive on getting help.
He said: “Through repeated attempts, I was able to get a referral to audiology, who fitted me with a hearing aid. I've also been attending a dizziness clinic with an ear, nose, and throat doctor.
“I still have occasional problems with dizziness, balance and regular headaches."
Louis said Headway has been very helpful to him over the years.
He said: “My Headway group is in Hammersmith and Fulham and it’s great but I haven't attended as many of the meetings as I would have liked to. However, their newsletters have given me some very useful information."
Louis said he now tries to make the best of his life by making sure he is realistic about what he can achieve.
“It's pretty hard to have plans for the future, as I'm still quite limited, but I recognise my limitations and allow people around me to help. Oh and of course, I try to keep a positive attitude.”
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